Maybe you decided to try losing a little weight before a wedding, holiday, or even before the beginning of the summer season. If it’s coming down to the wire and you haven’t made much progress to your goals, you may be wondering, “How much weight can I lose in three months, anyway?”
At times, it can be tempting to try to lose as much weight as you can as fast as possible. Trends like the low carb or keto diets, intermittent fasting, and the carnivore diet have become more popular for the weight loss benefits they promise.
But the important thing when it comes to weight loss is building healthy habits that stick. This way, once you lose that extra weight, you can keep it off–and feel great.
With the right outlook, tools, and lifestyle changes, you can create a successful three month weight loss plan that’ll set you up for success, long-term. So, let’s take a look at how to create a sustainable weight loss program to help you reach your goals.
How Much Weight Can I Lose In 3 Months?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), most people can safely lose one to two pounds per week, or 0.5 to one percent of their body weight without losing muscle mass. But everybody is different–and there are no hard fast rules.
How much weight you can lose in three months may depend on factors such as:
It’s important to remember that losing weight gradually is more effective and more sustainable. While crash diets may lead to short-term results, this kind of rapid weight loss is notorious for being harder to keep off in the long-term.
It’s important to consult with your doctor or a registered nutritionist before beginning any weight loss journey. They can help you design or modify your regimen to account for your medical history and any other relevant health issues.
Setting a realistic weight loss goal that is achievable and sustainable is crucial. An unrealistic goal could leave you discouraged, burnt out, or cause you to engage in unhealthy habits like chronic undereating or obsessing over the number on the scale.
By setting a more modest, realistic weight loss goal, you can focus instead on building healthy habits that’ll allow you to keep the weight off and feel better, overall.
How To Set Goals For Your 3 Month Plan
So what does a three month weight loss plan look like? You may want to break your larger goal into smaller, achievable milestones.
If you want to lose 15 pounds in three months for example, try setting some biweekly goals and forming a sustainable plan to help you stay on track. This means you might aim to lose two or three pounds every two weeks, which sounds a lot more doable!
Remember, however, that many people experience a plateau or slower weight loss at some point in their journey. Planning for a potential setback can help you adjust your diet and exercise routines to continue losing weight without losing focus. A personal trainer or dietitian can also help hold you accountable during these times.
To lose weight, you’ll need to maintain a calorie deficit, or consume fewer calories than you burn through physical activity and other daily activities. There are many ways to continue eating a satisfying diet without feeling like you’re depriving yourself–so find what works best for you!
It’s important to keep in mind that eating too few calories can backfire. If you undereat, you can slow down your metabolic rate, which can make it harder for you to burn calories and lose weight.
There are a couple of ways to figure out your ideal calorie deficit. One is to meet with your doctor or dietitian, who can take calculations based on your weight, height, and exercise level.
The other way is to use a formula, such as the Mifflin-St. Jeor equation. Use your calorie deficit as a guidepost while focusing on adopting healthier lifestyle habits.
Many popular junk foods are high in calories, fat, and added sugar which can lead to sugar cravings, glucose spikes, and other negative health effects. If these foods make up a big part of your diet, it may be more difficult to lose weight.
Focusing instead on following a nutrient-dense meal plan that’s high in fiber and protein can help you avoid overeating. Not to mention, eating healthy foods that are rich in vitamins and minerals can do wonders for your heart health, energy, and overall well-being.
Consume More Protein, Fiber, And Veggies
Protein may be one of the most important nutrients that supports weight loss. That’s because protein boosts the hormones that reduce appetite and reduces levels of the hunger-inducing hormone, ghrelin.
This means you’re likely to eat fewer calories and still feel satiated. On top of that, studies show consuming a high-protein diet may help you burn as many as 80 to 100 extra calories per day.
Opt for high-quality protein sources when possible, such as:
- Grass-fed beef
- Organic poultry
- Pastured eggs
- Low-toxin seafood, such as sardines, mackerel, anchovies, salmon, herring
- Organic organ meat
- Tofu and tempeh
Fiber is another important nutrient for weight loss. It’s a type of carbohydrate that’s digested slowly, helping you feel full longer. Fiber can also reduce blood sugar spikes, which may help to slow fat storage.
Some high-fiber foods include:
- Fruits like apples, pears, and raspberries
- Legumes, peas, and beans
- Vegetables like broccoli and carrots
- Most root vegetables like onions, sweet potatoes, and beets
Cut Out Fried Foods, Added Sugar, And Refined Grains
There are certain foods that can make your weight loss efforts more challenging. A few foods that may inhibit weight loss are:
- Fried foods: Fried foods are high in calories and trans fat, which can obliterate your calorie deficit quickly. Plus, studies show trans fat can redistribute fat tissue to your midsection and lead to a higher body weight–even if you’re watching your calories.
- Refined grains: White flour, white bread, and white rice are low in fiber and high in simple sugars. That means they are more likely to pike your blood sugar and fat-storing insulin levels, which can make weight loss more difficult.
- Added sugars: Added sugars contribute extra calories to your diet without offering many of the nutrients your body needs. Not to mention, they’ve been associated with inflammation and spiking blood sugar levels, as well as chronic conditions such as heart disease.
Log Your Meals With A Food Journal
A food journal is a daily log of everything you eat and drink throughout the day. Keeping a food journal can help you to better understand why, when, and how you’re eating.
This can help you both refine your diet and identify any emotional eating patterns. Studies show that people who keep a food journal tend to lose more weight and keep it off, long-term.
A CGM is a small, minimally-invasive device that sits on your arm and tracks your glucose levels throughout the day. This technology can help you identify patterns in the way your body responds to food, stress, exercise, and other daily activities.
In this way, a CGM can give you the information you need to make better choices that help you achieve your weight loss goal.
Studies show that drinking more water may help you lose weight by increasing the amount of calories and fat you burn. When you drink plenty of water, you are often more able to gauge when you’ve eaten enough.
Unlike many sugary beverages, water is calorie-free and can even improve your digestion and the quality of your sleep, as well as lowering stress levels. Many sugary beverages are also high in calories and can add unnecessary calories to your daily calorie intake.
Another vital element of a successful three-month weight loss plan is exercise. Increasing your level of physical activity helps increase your metabolic rate, allowing your body to burn off more calories. Combined with a healthy diet, exercise can be a great way to help you maintain your calorie deficit.
It’s important to create an exercise plan you can stick to. You might start with 30 minutes of moderate activity, three to five days a week. For beginners, working with a personal trainer may make it easier to stay accountable to your routine and make sure you are performing your exercises correctly.
There are two main types of moderate-intensity exercise that may be particularly helpful for weight loss.
Strength or resistance training is one of the most beneficial types of exercise for weight loss. It helps you build muscle tissue, which increases your metabolic rate and helps your body burn more fat.
If you’re a beginner, you can start out with a full body circuit using bodyweight movements like push-ups and squats. Once you’re ready, you can add in weight lifting exercises with weights, such as:
- Bicep curls
- Chest or shoulder presses
- Lateral raises
- Tricep extensions
Aerobic exercise, often called cardio, can help you move your body and stay active, which can make it easier to stay in your calorie deficit. Getting appropriate levels of exercise means you may not have to cut as many calories from your diet to lose weight.
It also has measurable benefits for your heart health. You may want to experiment with different cardio workouts to see which you like best. Some options are:
Research shows that not getting enough sleep can lead to higher stress levels, more frequent blood sugar spikes, and insulin resistance. All of these issues can interfere with your ability to lose weight.
Additionally, when you’re sleep-deprived, your body may produce more ghrelin–the hunger hormone–causing you to eat more than you normally would. According to the CDC, most adults need at least seven hours of sleep per night, so make sure you’re getting plenty of rest!
Prioritize your sleep by practicing good sleep hygiene. Some tips for better sleep include:
- Be consistent: Aim to go to bed at the same time every night.
- Create a comfortable sleeping space: Make sure your bedroom is quiet, dark, relaxing, and turn the thermostat down a bit so it’s nice and cool.
- Avoid electronic devices: Turn off your phone and TV at least two hours before bedtime.
- Watch what you eat: Avoid large meals, caffeine, and alcohol for several hours before bedtime.
When you're stressed, your body produces more of the hormone, cortisol. This can make you hungrier and more likely to reach for high-sugar, high-fat foods, making it harder to lose weight.
Practicing stress management techniques is associated with making healthier food choices. Not to mention, you’ll likely feel more relaxed and well-equipped to handle life’s challenges.
Some stress-relieving activities include:
- Meditation and mindfulness
- Gentle stretching or yoga
- Deep breathing
- Connecting with loved ones
- Spending time in nature
Engage with Your Blood Glucose Levels with Nutrisense
Your blood sugar levels can significantly impact how your body feels and functions. That’s why stable blood glucose levels can be an important factor in supporting overall wellbeing.
With Nutrisense, you’ll be able to track your blood glucose levels over time using a CGM, so you can make lifestyle choices that support healthy living.
Ready to take the first step? Start with our quiz to see how Nutrisense can support your health.
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Jordyn has a bachelor’s degree in biology, a graduate degree in Human Nutrition and completed a dietetic internship at the Memphis VA. She has experience working as a clinical dietitian at a VA medical center specializing in oncology and at the Mayo Clinic, working with a wide range of patients ranging from neonates in the NICU to adult ICU.